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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Cornyn on Iran War Powers Resolution  CSPAN  February 13, 2020 9:12am-9:19am EST

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our last resort, and if diplomacy should fail in this case or others, i will insist our administration produce a clear strategy and a mission for our troops and our servicemen and women can accomplish and that our congress provides our military with the resources and authorities they need. we are blessed with a system of democratic government and challenges though, in times when stakes are highest to rise to the occasion and to earn our place in the history of this democratic republic. we do that by reaffirming our faith in our constitution, including article 1, which gives to this body the responsibility to weigh vital decisions of war and peace. >> madam president, debates between executive branch and congress over the power to conduct war is not a new topic, but i think in many ways, this debate has been blown out of proportion, a lot of this has to do with the decision made by
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president trump with the advice of his advisors to eliminate one of the worst terrorists in the middle east, qasem soleimani, who was plotting to burn down the american embassy in iraq and also threaten the lives of american troops, to take him off the battlefield. this is clearly within the president's authority under the constitution. it really isn't a matter of whether congress needed to give him the authority to do that or not. i think we all agree that the president, as commander-in-chief, has to have his constitutional authority to defend american lives and american interests when -- and we don't have, when congress doesn't have the time or frankly not built for speed when it comes to addressing to threats of national security like that. we do have a shared
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responsibility, but primarily the responsibility of the congress can be exercised through our appropriations authority. we can literally cut off the funds that the executive branch would use to conduct operations if congress sees fit. but if this resolution succeeds, it will tie the commander-in-chief's hands while the threat posed by iran and terrorist organizations like the iranian revolutionary guard corps, irgc and those by soleimani very high. actually i think the president should be congratulated, in the words of former general david pa tr patreas, what the president did by taking soleimani off the battlefield was some deterrence.
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if you're stepping into the head of the force and the rigc to lead attacks against the united states and our allies you're going to have to think twice before you do that because you might end up in the same condition that general soleimani did. so, reestablishing deterrents is very, very important because when our adversaries sense weakness, it's a provocation to protect america and our allies and our interest. again, i know some of our friends were upset that general soleimani was taken out by a drone strike, but he was one of the most consequential military leaders in the middle east and was directly responsible for the death of hundreds of american service members, training, shia militias and others in the war in iraq by providing them with improvised explosive devices, actually, they are designed so they
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literally will melt through armor like a hot knife through butter. that all came from iran and resulted in the death of hundreds of american service members. but when a successful mission carried out by u.s. forces finally brought an end to soleimani's reign of terror our colleagues couldn't recognize the president's decisive action and that it undoubtedly saved lives. my mind immediately went by how did republicans and democrats act when president obama directed the raid that took out usama bin laden? we didn't draw partisan lines, we didn't say, well, he didn't have the authority to do that so we're going to come back to congress and tie his hands for the fight in the war on terror. we didn't do that. it's like night and day, the reaction between the operation directed at taking out osama
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bin laden and the operation that took out qasem soleimani the head out of a country that's the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world. as i've said, i strongly disagree with the claim that president trump's actions were outside of his authority or that he should have come to congress and sought congressional approval before acting. you may remember, madam president, what congress was doing while the president was having to deal with this. the house was voting on articles of impeachment and then the senate had to conduct a trial of these impeachment articles and obviously, it failed, but it took up time where we literally could not have dealt with this emergency action and opportunity to take a worldclass terrorist off the battlefield. this was clearly not only within the president's constitutional authority, but it was also his duty to prevent and stop threats against the
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united states, including those posed by the iranian regime and their allies and the shia militias, which the other individual that, one of the other individuals that died in the attack directed at soleimani was leader of the shia militias in iraq that had been plotting the destruction of the u.s. embassy there and perhaps even a hostage situation like we saw in 1979. but also, plotting attacks against american service members there, assisting the iraqi people in trying to rebuild their government and provide them a means to govern themselves safely. and to eliminate the terrorist threat. but passing this resolution would limit the president's authority to defend american service members against imminent attacks and would place our troops further in harm's way. so, i will vote against the resolution, madam president and
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i would implore our colleagues to do the same. i know in a era of trump derangement syndrome, anything the president is for people are reflexively against. i think that falls in this country. and i don't fault the members of congress for wanting to make sure that the shared powers of congress and the president have under the constitution to wage w war, i don't question their motives in trying to find the appropriate balance, but here, i think we've stepped across the line, literally, to try to tie the president's hand as a punishment for conducting a fully authorized operation against one of the world's worst terrorists, something we should applaud, rather than conde condemn. >> i'm pleased to join my colleagues, many of whom have


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